It’s time once again for your daily Rob Gronkowski update, and it’s the same as every Rob Gronkowski update.
Gronk didn’t practice today, and despite Grody Gronk spilling Bill Belichick’s neatly-arranged beans last week and revealing that his son has a high-ankle sprain, the Patriots still aren’t elaborating on the severity of the injury. Belichick predictably only said that he didn’t practice, and called Gronkowski “day-to-day.” Getting anything more than that from the notoriously stone-faced Patriot Jedi will be a Herculean task this week.
Some, like ESPN’s James Walker, have rather logically concluded that if Gronkowski can’t at least practice on a limited basis by Thursday at the latest, his chances of appearing in the Super Bowl would take a sharp decline. That’s the kind of straight-forward thinking regarding ankle injuries that can uniformly be applied to the regular season, but injury statuses become far more murky and unpredictable during the Super Bowl circus.
Yesterday ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio cited a league source who said that Gronkowski “probably won’t practice at all before the game,” but he’ll still play Sunday. That approach wouldn’t be surprising, as it would obviously optimize Gronk’s rest, and it would also allow Belichick to maintain his veil of secrecy without any media members seeing his prized tight end potentially hobbled during practice.
Our opinion that we’ll base on no medical expertise whatsoever is that he’ll still play, but Gronk will be restricted, and he won’t be the same Gronk that’s bruised defensive backs all year with his unique blend of speed and physicality.
Elsewhere for New England, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer practiced today, taking another large step forward in his recovery from foot and back injuries that have kept him out since Now. 27. Vollmer’s cast was removed just prior to the Patriots’ divisional round game against Denver, but he didn’t play. He also practiced last week before the Baltimore game, but he still wasn’t quite ready.
Belichick now says that “there’s a possibility” Vollmer plays Sunday, which would provide a significant fortification for New England’s offensive line, and limit how much rookie Nate Solder is exposed to the elite pass-rushing abilities of Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Jason Pierre-Paul.
The Giants flew to Indianapolis today and didn’t practice.